Dayton at State Fair: ‘I’m not in campaign mode’

Gov. Mark Dayton talks to reporters on the first day of the 2013 Minnesota State Fair. (MPR Photo/Tim Pugmire)

DFL Gov. Mark Dayton’s trip to the Minnesota State Fair today was his first of six planned visits this year, but he insisted that he is not yet campaigning for re-election.

“This year is different,” Dayton told reporters outside the DFL booth. “I’m not in campaign mode. This is just being here and enjoying the fair. I love the fair.”

Dayton plans to seek a second term in 2014. It will be the first time he’s run for re-election to any office. He will spend most of his time at the fair shaking hands and doing media interviews. During one of those interviews at the Star Tribune booth, Dayton predicted that his political opponents will  wage a negative and vicious campaign against him next year.

“There will be a lot of independent expenditure money coming in to smear me without any accountability,” Dayton said. “So, it’s not going to be a fun year. But it’s necessary, and that’s our process these days. So, I’m up for it.”

Dayton said while he doesn’t consider himself campaigning this summer, he has been raising money for his re-election bid. He described it as an “unfortunate chore.”

There are now five Republicans who want a chance to try to unseat Dayton next year. Those GOP candidates are also making several appearances at the State Fair.